You don't have to be an experienced candle maker to create your own handmade candle gifts. Personalizing inexpensive candles is a simple way to make unique gifts for your friends and family members. Look for sales on plain pillar candles at your favorite discount or dollar store, then use basic crafting techniques to transform them into stylish gifts.
Adding a special photo to a candle is easier than you might expect. This idea for making candle gifts can be adapted to suit a variety of occasions, including birthdays, weddings, anniversaries, and baby showers.
- Light colored pillar candle
- Computer with image editing software
- Inkjet printer
- Tissue paper
- Repositionable glue stick
- Heat embossing gun or blow-dryer
- Wax paper
- Scotch tape
- Use your computer's image editing software to crop a photo to place on your candle. If you wish, you can also add borders, clip art, or a special message.
- Use the repositionable glue stick to attach tissue paper to a sheet of cardstock.
- Use your inkjet printer to print your photo on the tissue paper covered cardstock.
- Gently peel off the tissue paper and trim the image as needed.
- Place the tissue paper image against your candle.
- Tightly wrap the entire candle with wax paper and tape the ends together at the back of the candle.
- Use your heat embossing gun or blow-dryer to melt the candle wax. As you melt the wax, your tissue paper will start to disappear, leaving only your photograph on the candle.
- Remove the wax paper and allow your candle to cool.
Use nail polish to create a beautiful marbled surface on a plain pillar candle. With the wide variety of nail polish colors available, you can make candles to match almost any decor.
- Large pillar candle, preferably light colored
- Several colors of matching nail polish
- Acetone polish remover
- Large pan (large enough to roll the candle in)
- Parchment or wax paper
- Paper towels
- Fill the pan with tap water and let it sit for about an hour to come to room temperature.
- Place two small strips of parchment or wax paper on your work surface - one will hold the lids/brushes from the polish bottles, and the other the finished candle while it dries.
- Remove the caps from all the nail polish bottles and place them on one of the parchment paper strips. You want to have all the bottles open while you work.
- Starting with your first polish color, carefully pour some of it onto the water. Repeat with your second color, pouring it in a different spot.
- Continue pouring nail polish until you've used all the colors you want to include.
- As you work, the polish will spread and distribute itself around the surface of the water (though there can be some 'holes' where the water shows through). If the polish doesn't spread out, use a toothpick to drag the color blobs around and spread out the nail polish.
- Holding the candle by the ends, slowly roll it across the surface of the water, allowing it to pick up the colors as you roll.
- Place the candle on the second piece of parchment and gently pat dry with paper towels.
- Repeat steps 4 through 8 until you get the look that you want. Allow the candle to dry completely.
- Clean up any surface mess with the acetone polish remover and paper towels.
Use leftover wallpaper or cutouts from wallpaper border to make colorful, fun candles that make great gifts! Wallpaper generally features bold colors that will look sharp even after being dipped in wax.
- Large pillar candle, any color
- Wallpaper or wallpaper border scraps
- Glue stick
- Large coffee can or tall pot
- Larger pot to fit the coffee can or tall pot into
- Sharp knife
- Paraffin wax, about one pound (the kind you use for canning is perfect)
- Old wooden or plastic spoon
- Wax or parchment paper
- Vegetable peeler
- Dust off the candle and wick to make sure there's no residue.
- Using scissors, cut out some of the wallpaper to decorate the candle with. You can use a wide strip to go completely around the center of the candle, or cut out shapes from the paper design like the angel in the photo above.
- Apply a light coating of glue to the cut-out wallpaper and adhere it to the candle where you want it to be. Try to make sure that all the edges of the paper are flush with the candle. Set aside.
- Cut up enough paraffin wax to fill the coffee can with small chunks. Create a double boiler with the larger pot by placing the can with the wax into the larger pot. Add enough water to the bottom pot so that it comes up about two inches along the side of the can.
- Place the double boiler on the stove over medium-low heat. Allow the wax to melt, stirring with your spoon only occasionally and very gently so as not to incorporate air bubbles. Add more wax chunks as the wax melts down - you want to end up with the can about three-quarters full.
- When the wax is completely melted, remove the double boiler from the heat.
- Holding the wick of the candle, carefully dip it into the melted wax. You may need to tilt the can a little and turn the candle to ensure that the wax covers the entire candle.
- Bring the candle straight up out of the wax and hold it over the can for a few seconds to allow some of the wax to drip off. Place it on wax or parchment paper for a few minutes.
- Reheat the wax so it is completely melted and warm, then repeat steps 7 and 8. Continue this process two or three times to ensure that the wallpaper won't peel away from the candle.
- Allow the candle to dry completely. Trim excess wax from the bottom of the candle with a vegetable peeler if necessary.
Presenting Your Candle Gifts
Candles are fun gifts to give, and you can make your homemade candles extra special by wrapping them in a pretty sheet of cellophane tied up with a matching bow. Add a few votive candles in complementary colors and a candle lighter for a thoughtful housewarming gift, or just a nice surprise for any occasion.